Future Titan? - Otto Greule Jr
It's that time of year again! Let's go Bowling! Although they are very light on NFL prospects, the early bowls are full of crazy sponsor names and usually interesting to watch. Let's begin our adventure with the very first one.
Up first in the no one has an idea what kind of product the sponsor makes contest:
Gildan New Mexico Bowl - Arizona vs Nevada Saturday Dec 15th, 1 PM ESPN
Arizona's senior QB Matt Scott looks to rediscover his sinking draft stock against a questionably insufficient Wolfpack defense. Nevada is led by potent junior RB Stefphon Jefferson (2nd ranked rusher on a per game basis in all of FBS football). This one should be a shootout to the very end with both sides featuring poor defenses. Rich Rod hopes to end a successful 8-4 debut campaign on a good note.
Host city: Albuquerque, NM University Stadium (home of the University of NM)
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (no really, that's the name of it) - Toledo vs (22) Utah State Saturday 4:30 PM ESPN
2 teams that were national darlings for being the giant killers for a time before ultimately losing because of inferior talent. The MAC (noticed all those games on ESPN early in the week and on Fridays? yeah this is #MACACTION) vs the WAC. This bowl will be played at Boise State's iconic blue turfed Bronco Stadium.
Host city: Boise, Idaho The Blue Turf (Bronco Stadium)
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl - BYU vs San Diego State Thursday Dec 20th 8 PM ESPN
A spirited BYU team (gave Notre Dame all they could handle at South Bend, no less) takes on SDSU staying home for the bowl season as it were. Perhaps the Aztecs can ask the lowly Arizona Cardinals for their QB Ryan Lindley back as he's been seen doing very little as of this writing. I hear San Diego is a wonderful place to visit this time of year.
Host city: San Diego, CA Qualcomm Stadium (also home of the Chargers)
Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl - Ball State vs UCF Friday Dec 21st 7:30 PM ESPN
The Fightin' Jason Whitlocks (who might be the best sports writer these days outside of Jommy) of Ball State travel to St. Petersburg take on the Golden Knights of Central Florida, who are in a de facto home bowl game. A quick drive up from home base in Orlando to basically what you would call the Tampa metro should allow UCF fans to show up in droves. UCF had a nail biter against Ohio State early on before Braxton Miller showed up to beat them. Another weirdly named bowl after a sponsor no one cares about.
Host city: St. Petersburg, FL Tropicana Field (home of the Tampa Bay Rays, the most recent MLB club to fleece the Royals in a trade)
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - East Carolina vs Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday Dec 22nd NOON ESPN
Aha! a bowl sponsor that I've actually heard of! The Chris Johnson vs Jake Delhomme Bowl. The Ragin Cajuns of ULL (no, that's not some random school in "The Waterboy") look to win this instate game featuring a leaky ECU defense. ULL took the not so mighty Sugar Bowl representatives Florida Gators within a Gators' blocked punt return TD of pulling the upset.
Host city: New Orleans (obviously) the Superdome
MAACO Las Vegas Bowl - Washington vs (19) Boise State Saturday Dec 22nd 3:30 PM ESPN
The best of the pre Christmas bunch is this game. Huskies redshirt sophomore QB Keith Price will attempt to further develop his stock for next year while senior CB Desmond Trufant tries to maintain an already solid stock as one of the best yet unheralded corners in the country. Boise, meanwhile has had a down year trying to recover from their NFL graduations, much to the delight of AQ powers around the nation. These two teams also play each other in the 2013 season opener.
Host city: Las Vegas Sam Boyd Stadium (home of the UNLV Rebels)
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl - Fresno State vs SMU Monday Dec 24th 8 PM ESPN
The bowl to watch while everyone is waiting for Santa to arrive/desperately doing last minute shopping. SMU's June Jones makes a return to the big island where he built the Hawaii program from scratch. The west coast FSU has a couple of NFL ready prospects: QB Derek Carr (David's younger brother) and fast rising S Phillip Thomas
Host city: Honolulu, HI Aloha Stadium (home of the Warriors and the Pro Bowl)